This autumn, Museum MORE will show the powerful work of the Danish-Israeli artist Tal R (1967) and Mamma Andersson (1962) from Sweden. Entirely different at first sight, the two artists share an immense fascination for C.F. Hill (1849–1911), whose vibrant landscapes and mysterious worlds packed with fear and eroticism, made him a central figure in the history of Nordic art. The exhibition About Hill is thus a unique encounter between three Scandinavian luminaries.
Over 75 of the so-called ‘illness drawings’ by the legendary Swedish artist Carl Frederik Hill form the maelstrom on which Tal R and Mamma Andersson allowed themselves to be swept away especially for this exhibition. Both of these leading contemporary artists have created dozens of brand-new works inspired by Hill’s wondrous and sometimes frightening drawings. Hill experienced severe bouts of mental illness from the age of 28 and was declared insane. It would have an immense impact on his work. Where his art had initially been rooted in Romanticism and the 19th-century French landscape tradition, he now entered a mysterious world, in which he depicted his most personal visions: artistic fantasies of writhing female figures, wild waterfalls and untamed animals. Hill turned himself inside out, expressing his inner darkness and crisis in thousands of drawings. His exceptional visual language now dates back over a century, yet feels timeless.
Field of tension
The new art of Tal R and Mamma Andersson revolves around these idiosyncratic ‘illness drawings’. In paintings and drawings of their own, they respond to Hill as a phenomenon and specifically to the selection of 75 of his drawings. In doing so, they also elevate Hill above his ‘illness’. Tal R’s creations include brightly-coloured and expressive interiors, cityscapes and landscapes with mysterious characters and original alter egos. He works in the field of tension between figuration and abstraction. Mamma Andersson does so too, but in her own way. Her dreamlike spaces and landscapes belong to a more classical tradition, with subtle contrasts and an exceptional feeling for every nuance of the colour black. She combines everyday motifs with cinematic settings, rendering them strange and disturbing. In this way, Andersson shows the encounter between people and darkness that seems so typical of Nordic painting.
Mystic and melancholic
This ‘northern’ sensibility in art, permeated with introversion, desire, eroticism, mysticism and melancholy, is likewise visible in the work of this Scandinavian trio. Animistic nature, isolated human beings and savage animals wander around in time and space. All the same, an underlying existential oppression and awe of the inexplicable are universal and recognizable in many forms.
Tal R and Mamma Andersson have both made international names for themselves, while paving the way for the new painting of the 21st century. They have had solo exhibitions at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and elsewhere, and their art has been shown in museums and leading private galleries worldwide. About Hill is Mamma Andersson’s first exhibition in the Netherlands. Through its focus on C.F. Hill, meanwhile, the project will also bring the fascinating universe of this unorthodox 19th-century artist to a wider Dutch audience.
The exhibition has been created in collaboration between Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg in Denmark, Malmö Konstmuseum in Sweden, Museum MORE in the Netherlands and the artists Mamma Andersson and Tal R.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated book in Dutch and English.